Hello Gail, welcome to Ravencraft’s Romance Realm. We’re delighted you’re here and your guest post is all about fantasy…sort of follows suit with your newest release…Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights. Gail shared an excerpt with us following her fantasy chat *smile* AND we shared a bit about Gail after that.
All the members of Ravencraft’s love fantasy, looking forward to hearing your take on it…so bring it on, Gail.
“Welcome to Fantasy Island!” Ricardo Montalban, remember? Mr. Rourke. Don’t know about y’all, but I really loved that show. (Ricardo Montalban wasn’t bad, either.) Like my cousin Debbie said in an email a few years back, “I spend a lot of time looking for the exact location of Fantasy Island.” (Always told her I was goin’ to use that line somewhere and now I have.)
Why do humans love fantasy? Because we need it. We need it in some elemental, basic way, I think. Sometimes it’s light and funny and gives a momentary respite from the same ole’ same ole’ of our days. Sometimes it’s dark and scary and gives us reassurance that no matter how bad your day’s going, things could be a whole lot worse. Because the things that go bump in the night could be real. The good news is, usually they’re not.
I made the acquaintance of fantasy worlds at a very young age. All children do, I think. The lucky ones retain that acquaintance with fantasy worlds throughout their entire lives. And I think a lot of those lucky ones are called – writers.
When I was roughly five or thereabouts, I looked through the car window one dark night on the way home from a Drive-In movie treat. A movie date night with my Daddy, just him and me. Popcorn. Cokes. The swing set in front of the big outdoor screen where all the kids played in the dusk as they waited for the dark to come down all around them so the movie film could roll. Fantasy land for a little girl all in itself. He took me to see one of the Three Stooges movies. I’m not entirely certain, and don’t even know if in fact there ever was a Three Stooges movie that involved the Three Stooges being in space. But I have a vague recollection that was the plot of the movie. Or maybe I’m remembering something from a preview of a coming attraction. Five or thereabouts was about 53 years ago.
Anyway, I remember resting my head against the pillow propped against the window on the ride home and looking out and up. Up at the stars. At their twinkling, revolving, pulsating light. And I thought, “Suppose somewhere up there, there’s another planet? One where I have a double?” I don’t suppose the words “parallel world” actually crossed my mind at that age, though I will say most grown-ups seemed to think I had a pretty impressive vocabulary. But with or without the words to express the concept, that’s what I was imagining.
Years later, I had the thought it might be fun to write an historical romance. That thought was followed very rapidly by the thought that I didn’t want to do any research for it. I just wanted to write. And from the hidden storehouses of my brain, the words “parallel world” popped into my mind. Because in a parallel world, I could do anything I wanted to. It was mine. My world. My rules. And so I created one. Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights. Released Friday the Thirteenth, April 2012. (Now, if anybody can possibly imagine a more perfect release date for a Gail Roughton book, I hope you’ll tell me! Okay, okay, I’ll try to see if I can get one out on Halloween!) I hope you enjoy visiting this created world as much as I enjoyed creating it. And in that world, folks – You ain’t in Kansas anymore!
Over the hills and far away, somewhere over the rainbow, beyond the yellow brick road… Dedicated career girl Tess Ames is on her way to a working holiday in Jamaica. She thinks. But there’s a door that has other plans. A door to another world. A door that picks and chooses when it opens. And who it opens for. Because those that come through that door are meant to come. So instead of eating salt-fish and dancing reggae, she ends up…somewhere else. In a world that runs on magic, portents, omens and the all-important Powerstones – she ain’t in Kansas anymore! Has Tess been thrown to the wolves? Ah! That would be telling…
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Abruptly, the Prian reined in his horse and barked again at the Kabra. It was the first clear sentence one of them had spoken in some hours.
“Gather wood. We need fire.”
“We should not stop, the horses—”
“The horses are tired, fools! They cannot outrun a hungry pack!”
“Obey me! They draw closer!!”
I bunched my leg muscles and waited for the chance to urge Toron’s horse to flee. It seemed that for the moment, they had forgotten about me, and I didn’t see that it would be much worse to run into a wolf pack than to land in Pria.
I’d undoubtedly be dead in any event, and the wolves probably wouldn’t take as long about it as the Prians would. But just when I thought I had the opportunity, one of the Kabras grabbed me and hauled me off the horse, pulled me over to a tree, and tied me firmly against it as the Prian and the other Kabra moved swiftly, locating fallen branches and dead leaves by feel in the semi-darkness, aided hugely by the radiant moonbeams.
The pile of kindling was assembled, and the Prian pulled a box out of his belt. Kneeling, he began to strike the flint against the stone until the sparks grew into a small blaze in the pile, devouring the dead leaves and smaller twigs hungrily, and taking hold. And in the woods, the sounds of the howls drew closer and closer still.
The men watched the flames anxiously, waiting for the moment when the blaze would be great enough to add the bigger limbs which were piled near the fire. Still the howls drew closer.
The Prian grabbed a large branch and thrust it into the fire, pulling his sword free with his other hand. The Kabras followed suit, and all three of them swirled at the same time, facing away from the fire as the howls converged into a circle around us.
I saw the first dark shapes running through the trees. The wolves seemed to have no fear of the flames at all, and the dark, silent shapes encircled us. Dots of red glowed in the light of the fire, now quite substantial, as the flames caught the golden eyes of the wolves.
Then one wolf gave a howl that splintered the air and leaped, ignoring the burning brand in the hand of the Prian, and went straight for his throat. The brand fell uselessly from his hand, the sword swinging, but missing its target, and one of the Kabras leaped toward the Prian, swinging his own brand as he attempted to set the fur of the lead wolf on fire. His brand fell, useless, as well, as two other huge wolves knocked him to the ground. I heard the sounds of ripping flesh and spurting blood. The other Kabra was backing away, toward the woods, and sensing the flight of this prey, two other wolves circled, one coming toward him from the back and the other leaping for his throat.
The other wolves raced around the circle and converged with the attacking wolves around the fallen bodies. I heard claws tear flesh, and fangs crunch bones; I smelled the hot, metallic scent of blood. I shrank back against the tree, close to total paralysis, and near complete hysteria. I couldn’t even scream; the gag was still in place. I could only sit and feel the cold waves of terror spreading out from my stomach, tingling as they rushed over my body. Any moment now, any second, the wolves would raise their heads from their defeated prey and smell me, smell my still pumping blood. And gradually, the orgy of frenzied ripping sounds died down, and the wolves backed away from what was left of the bodies.
The moon-glow was quite adequate; in fact, I wished it were dimmer. Or I would have wished so, had I been capable of coherent thought, which I certainly wasn’t. As the wolves backed away, I saw the carnage, which was absolute. The two Kabras and the Prian were no more; there remained only dark lumps of flesh from which protruded white ends of bone. The ground was spotted with dark puddles of congealing blood. And the lead wolf, the one who had first leaped into the circle, lifted its great head. And saw me.
About Gail Roughton:
A paralegal by day, she strives for justice. A weaver of words by night, she creates new worlds…” Yeah, that’s me. A fairy tale would start like that. In real life, I run up and down the halls of my law firm in a frantic attempt to meet deadlines. And at night, I field the family’s desperate cries of hunger with a new battle cry of my own. “There’s the kitchen! Help yourself!” I have a similar response for most every desperate call.
At last, in my late fifties, with children raised, I’ve given in to the call of the computer screen. To the Muse, as it were. Rather than fit writing into my evenings, I fit the rest of the evening into my writing. I hope y’all like the results. I’m Southern by the way, which fact is a major influence in Down Home, a September release. And I hope you’ll be back after Down Home for a few other surprises I have planned for the coming months, including another tale of the Truscan (K)nights and two more instalments of my War-N-Wit, Inc. paranormal romantic suspense series! Y’all come back now, hear?
Gail, thanks for hanging out with us today…love the post, and your books definitely sound like my kind of read (Kay Dee)…and I’m sure most if not all of the members here would say the same.
Definitely on my TBR list…on my way to make the purchase now (LOL)…gotta have it on my kindle.